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Tuesday, May 06, 2008 

Why The Conservative Government Will Ultimately Not Allow Safe Injection Sites

The Harper government wants to get rid of safe injection sites for people afflicted with the serious disease of drug addiction. They want to get rid of them because they simply will not recognize that drug addiction is a disease. They see it as a moral deficiency. They can't understand why an addict simply doesn't put the cap on the needle and walk away from their 'habit'.

Addiction is a serious life threatening disease whether the Conservatives agree or not.

The Parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health is Winnipeg MP Steven Fletcher. He is on record as saying, "Science alone will not be the only factor in the government's decision whether to extend Insite's funding." Insite is Vancouver's safe injection site.

Federal Health Minister Tony Clement told reporters that a decision on the fate of Insite will be made by the end of June. However, he rejected suggestions that the government has already made up its mind to say no. I disagree. The decision is already made. The Federal Conservatives will close the site and there will be no more safe injection sites as long as they are in power.

The right-wing mind simply cannot get over the hurdle of their own prejudices on the issue of addictions. In their world view, they refuse to acknowledge that addiction is a complex health problem where the afflicted individual simply cannot stop their use of drugs without a major coordinated effort from both themselves, health professionals and others.

The Conservatives will NOT agree to continue funding Vancouver's Insite ... you heard it here first. Their policies will send addicts back behind the dumpsters and into public washrooms in Vancouver's downtown. Conservatives refuse to comprehend that to an opiate addict, the fear of overdose and the fear of AIDS are trumped by the physical urgency within them to use more drugs. Drug addicts are not logical because they are sick. They are not bad or evil or lazy as most right wing thinkers assume.

When Tony Clement makes his announcement sometime between now and next month, it will be to say that the Federal government will no longer fund nor tolerate safe injection sites. If I am wrong, (and I won't be), I will acknowledge it here with another post.

-Expert: Safe injection site improves 'public order' - CTV

-Study backs more safe injection sites in Canada - National Post

-Vancouver injection site doesn't promote crime: criminologist - Canadian Press

. . .They see it[addiction] as a moral deficiency. . . .

Isn't there a greater moral deficiency in ignoring the persons harming themselves?

There are what are called the six works of corpoal mercy and comforting the afflicted is one of them. They are listed in Matthew 25: 35,36

So tell me, what brand of Christian doesn't want to help the physically afflicted out of an addiction.

Perhaps, the McVety-type self-righteous crypto-Christian?

And two-tier Tony is the minister of Health? It's hard to believe but on second thought remembering how he mishandled the SARS crisis of 2003, it's entirely in keeping with his mind-set.

Addiction is behaviour that the afflicted keep secret because of the illegal aspect of actually acquiring and using drugs. To get a fully engaged addict to come into a site is a huge step because they have to 'trust' enough to cross the threshold into the location. Once inside the door, trained professionals can begin to expose the addict to the concept of possible recovery. The immediate benefit of the safe sites is the 'harm reduction' aspect - clean needles and medical supervision if the individual overdoses. Many addicts believe that 'recovery' is impossible, but exposure to those who have found recovery is a positive exposure.

I think it says a lot, when the majority of police officers who work the lower East side support the concept of harm reduciton and the existing safe injection site.

These sites do not 'encourage' drug use. Anyone who says that and means it is an idiot. The 'use' is going to happen regardless. But finding ways to reduce the harm an addict does to themselves while at the same time exposing the addict to the possibility of a way out is positive and for that reason should be continued and expanded.

Thank you for blogging on this subject. I know 3 young adults (orginally from Saskatchewan) who work at Insite.

All you need to do is talk to any one of them and you will come to appreciate how important this safe injection site is, and why it would be irresponsible and short-sighted for our federal government to shut it down.

I posted last night. LATE. lol

InSite. Just following orders.

So many medical people are against this closure, evidence from so many countries shows closing it is bad. Deep connections and the land of the tin foil hatters again? Stephen Lewis has a LOT to say about it.

Thanks Larry, I appreciate you comments.

Pale, thanks for the h/t.

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